The Pharisees went off and plotted how they might entrap Jesus in speech. They sent their disciples to him, with the Herodians, saying, “Teacher, we know that you are a truthful man and that you teach the way of God in accordance with the truth.
by Father Greg Friedman, OFM
We often say, “Religion and politics don’t mix.” Our nation has a tradition of separation between Church and state. But today’s Sunday Mass readings bring these two realities together.
The first reading comes from the book of the prophet Isaiah, a text written in the sixth century before Christ, some two hundred years after the original Isaiah prophesied. The situation: the people are in exile, under the domination of the king of Persia, Cyrus. He’s a pagan king, but the prophet calls him God’s “anointed.” God will use this pagan king to restore his people to their homeland. In the Gospel, the civil ruler in the spotlight is the Roman Emperor. Here the religious-civil issue is raised by the Pharisees. Seeking to trap Jesus, they want his opinion on paying taxes. (It seems like the subject of taxes is a timeless human issue!) At any rate, you know the Lord’s response: Give to Caesar what belongs to him; but give God what belongs to God.
It’s all a matter of priorities. The state is an institution that commands our response to legitimate responsibilities. Christians have an obligation to be good citizens. But God can and will call on us for a response which comes first. Our American bishops have taken pains to instruct us on the duties of citizenship, and the values of faith which must assist us in our response. Today let’s allow our Lord’s timeless priorities to guide us.
by Father Dan Kroger, OFM
According to the first reading (Isaiah 45:1, 4-6), who has called Cyrus to fulfill his plan? Who is the Lord’s anointed one?
What must Cyrus do, even though he does not know the Lord God?
Who are Paul’s companions, in the second reading (1 Thes 1:1-5b)as he writes to the church of the Thessalonians?
Paul reminds the Thessalonians how the Gospel came to them. How did it happen?
This week’s Gospel (Mt 22:15-21), tells of how the Pharisees plotted to trap Jesus. What was their plan?
How did Jesus respond to their question about paying taxes? What does Paul call them?
Jesus asks for a Roman coin and uses that coin to avoid what?>
by Susan Hines-Brigger
Jesus asks the disciples to show him the picture that is on the coin they will use to the pay the census tax. The image was of Caesar. Do you know what or who is on the money that you use? Look at it and try to figure it out.
Pick a topic that you are interested in and ask your parents or grandparents what their opinion is about that topic. You might be surprised to discover their perspective. Be prepared to offer your opinion, too. It’s OK if your opinions differ, but remember to always be respectful of each other.